PRINCE Harry today hit out at social media as he blasted the "mothership of all the harassment" he and Meghan Markle have suffered.
In a lengthy interview published on Friday, the Duke of Sussex blamed the internet for a host of problems, including the Capitol riots in Washington earlier this month.
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Harry's comments followed reports that he and Meghan had quit social media after an "almost unsurvivable" experience of online trolling.
Quashing the claims in an interview with Fast Company, Harry said he and his wife had "no social media to quit," insisting they will return "when it's right for us".
He said: "We will revisit social media when it feels right for us—perhaps when we see more meaningful commitments to change or reform—but right now we’ve thrown much of our energy into learning about this space and how we can help."
The Duke of Sussex said he and Meghan experienced the nasty side of social media when they got married.
"I was really surprised to witness how my story had been told one way, my wife’s story had been told one way, and then our union sparked something that made the telling of that story very different," he said.
"That false narrative became the mothership for all of the harassment you’re referring to.
"It wouldn’t have even begun had our story just been told truthfully."
Harry went on to bash big tech companies, declaring them "incredibly powerful and consolidated gatekeepers".
And he warned social media had become the root of violence and confusion because it creates so much disinformation.
Speaking of the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, Harry said: "There was a literal attack on democracy in the United States, organised on social media, which is an issue of violent extremism."
He added that social media is widely acknowledged to have "played a role in the genocide in Myanmar" and was used "as a vehicle to incite violence against the Rohingya people".
"And in Brazil," he said, "social media provided a conduit for misinformation which ultimately brought destruction to the Amazon, which is an environmental and global health issue."
Harry did not name any of the social media sites he has issues with, but called on people to spend less time online.
He urged users to "consider setting limits on the time you spend on social media," and "stop yourself from endlessly scrolling".
And the dad-of-one said people should "fact-check" and "research the information you see", while "taking a more compassionate approach when you post or comment".
He said: "These might seem like little things, but they add up."
"Humans crave connection, social bonds, and a sense of belonging.
"When we don’t have those, we end up fractured, and in the digital age that can unfortunately be a catalyst for finding connection in mass extremism movements or radicalisation."
Harry and Meghan use their Instagram account, which has over 10.4 million followers, to share positive news and updates on their charity work – but they have not posted since March.
In their most recent post, they hinted at leaving social media, writing: "While you may not see us here, the work continues."
It comes after Meghan last year spoke of the “almost unsurvivable” pain she suffered at the hands of online trolls.
In an interview with Californian high school students for Mental Health Day last October, the Duchess said she was "the most trolled person in the world" in 2020 – and urged anyone suffering to speak out.
Meghan said: "I'm told that in 2019 I was the most trolled person in the entire world, male or female.
"I don’t care if you’re 15 or you’re 25 – if people are saying things about you that aren’t true, what that does to your mental and emotional health is so damaging."
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